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February 28, 2020

2/14/2020 10:23:00 AM
Wildcats upset: No rematch with Breck for section title

Chisago Lakes 5, Totino Grace 0
Dani Burgen had two goals and two assists and Jenna Lawry had a goal and two assists to lead the second-seeded Wildcats to a 5-0 win over the seventh-seeded Totino Grace Eagles in the quarterfinals of the Section 5A playoffs Wednesday, February 5 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.  The Wildcats outshot the Eagles 32-16 for the game and Wildcat goalie Anna Kittleson stopped all 16 shots she faced to earn the shutout.

Burgen opened the scoring midway through the first period with a shorthanded goal, assisted by Syd Boyle.  Boyle scored a power play goal with three minutes left in the period, assisted by Lawry, to make the score 2-0.  The Wildcats opened the second period on a power play, and Lawry scored just 21 seconds into the period to increase the Wildcat lead to three goals.  Burgen got the assist.  Midway through the third period, Burgen scored her second goal of the game, with assists going to Malia Mckinnon and Lawry.  And Megan Bye made it 5-0 at the 12:16 mark of the period, assisted by Burgen and Elyse Wilton.
Orono 5, Chisago Lakes 1
The Wildcats, ranked sixth in the state, may have been looking ahead to a section final matchup against number-one ranked Breck.  But the Wildcats failed to take care of business against the third-seeded Orono Spartans, losing 5-1 in the section semifinals Friday, February 7 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.

The Wildcats looked disorganized to open the first period – perhaps tired after having already playing Monday and Wednesday that week - and allowed several odd man rushes in the first few minutes.  But Wildcat goalie Anna Kittleson stood tall and kept the game scoreless while the Wildcats worked out of their funk.  The Wildcats ended up with a 10-9 advantage in shots in the first period.  The Wildcats had the best scoring opportunity of either team in the first period.  With just a couple of minutes remaining, the Wildcats got the puck to the left side of the net.  As Orono goalie Anna Lisle moved left to cover a potential shot, a Wildcat forward passed the puck to a teammate standing just outside the crease on the right side of the net.  All the teammate had to do was put her stick on the ice to redirect the puck into the wide-open right side of the net, but she stopped the puck, shot it from two feet away and somehow completely missed the net.  The game remained scoreless after one period.

Orono took control on the scoreboard in the second period, scoring three goals in a five-minute span.  The Wildcats took their only penalty of the game at 3:20 of the second period.  They did  a pretty good job for the first minute of the penalty kill.  But the Spartans got the puck deep in the zone, moved it to the front of the net and scored at 4:39 to take a 1-0 lead.  Three minutes later, Orono’s Grace Bickett passed the puck back to tall defenseman Sydney DeCubellis at the left point.  DeCubellis unleased a wicked wrist shot along the ice.  Kittleson dropped to block the shot, but the puck was tipped by Orono’s Kailey Niccum and went airborne, sailing just under the crossbar and into the back of the net to double the Orono lead to 2-0.  The Spartan scoring outburst ended two minutes later when Niccum got the puck at center ice, blew around the right side of a Wildcat defender near the net and scored to make it 3-0.

Orono Gabriella Norris took a high-sticking penalty at 11:25 of the second period, and the Wildcats did everything but score on the power play.  They kept the puck in the zone for almost the entire two minutes and got off seven or eight shots, including a couple of juicy rebounds, as they buzzed the net.  But Spartan goalie Lisle was up to the task and stonewalled the Wildcats.  When Norris came bursting out of the penalty box as the penalty time expired, she flattened over a Wildcat player who was chasing the puck out of the Orono zone.  The hit was so hard the referees could have actually called a major for charging, but there was no call and play went on.  The referees had let a few things go in what was a pretty cleanly-played game, but there was no excuse for both refs to swallow their whistles on that play.  The period ended with Orono leading 3-0.

The third period began with a tired-looking Orono team trying to hold off the fired-up Wildcats.  Just over a minute into the period, Jenna Lawry picked up a loose puck at the right point, skated down the slot and fired a shot just inside the right post to cut the Spartan lead to 3-1.  Momentum had shifted to the Wildcats.  They played inspired, wide-open hockey for the rest of the period, but couldn’t solve Lisle, who stopped all 18 Wildcat shots in the period.  The Wildcats pulled Kittleson with just over three minutes to go, and Orono scored a couple of empty-netters to make the final score Orono 5, Chisago Lakes 1.  A promising season ended with a thud.

The Wildcats outshot the Spartans 39-36 for the game.  Lisle stopped all but one Wildcat shot, and Kittleson stopped 33 of the 36 shots she faced, which should have been good enough to get the win.

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